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Environ Int. 2013 Apr;54:134-40. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2013.01.016. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Baseline blood trihalomethanes, semen parameters and serum total testosterone: a cross-sectional study in China.

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Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, PR China.


Toxicological studies showed that trihalomethanes (THMs), the most abundant classes of disinfection by-products (DBPs) in drinking water, impaired male reproductive health, but epidemiological evidence is limited and inconsistent. This study aimed to examine the associations of baseline blood THMs with semen parameters and serum total testosterone in a Chinese population. We recruited 401 men seeking semen examination from the Reproductive Center of Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China between April 2011 and May 2012. Baseline blood concentrations of THMs, including chloroform (TCM), bromodichloromethane (BDCM), dibromochloromethane (DBCM), and bromoform (TBM) were measured using SPME-GC/ECD method. Semen quality and serum total testosterone were analyzed. Multivariable linear regressions were used to assess the associations of baseline blood THM concentrations with semen parameters and serum total testosterone levels. We found that baseline blood THM concentrations were not associated with decrements in sperm motility, sperm straight-line and curvilinear velocity. However, moderate levels of BDCM (β=-0.13 million; 95% CI: -0.22, -0.03) and DBCM (β=-4.74%; 95% CI: -8.07, -1.42) were associated with decreased sperm count and declined sperm linearity compared with low levels, respectively. Suggestive dose-response relationships were also observed between elevated blood TCM or ∑ THMs (sum of TCM, BDCM, DBCM and TBM) concentration and decreased sperm concentration (both p for trend=0.07), and between elevated blood DBCM concentration and decreased serum total testosterone (p for trend=0.07). Our results indicate that elevated THM exposure may lead to decreased sperm concentration and serum total testosterone. However, the effects of THM exposure on male reproductive health still warrant further studies in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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